If you have been following the past few years of Resources: The MJA Newsletter, you will know that campaigns start long before the first ask. But, before you go at it alone consider the following thoughts.
Nonprofit development consultants can be hired at a variety of stages in a campaign:
- Strategic Planning
- Feasibility Study
- Prospect Research
- Quiet Phase
- Public Phase
- Final Push
And to be transparent, consultants are not inexpensive. However, here are some reasons that hiring a consultant early in the planning can be fiscally responsible, in fact, the low-cost decision:
- Perceived doubt in the capability of development staff with even one or two major donors can make a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- Cleaning up a campaign halfway through will not have the same results as starting new and fresh. Many lay leaders, volunteers and donors will hold too much anger or disappointment to recommit to the project.
- Wanting to raise $25 million dollars and knowing you have the support of the community to raise $25 million dollars are two different things and a consultant can help you determine where your prospects lie.
- Understanding your resources and examining the best path to each individual donor, corporation, foundation, or lay leader will help you reap the highest rewards.
- Quiet phases of campaigns (before any public announcement) can contribute more than 80% of the funds you plan to raise when you rely on a qualified, competent consultant to create the necessary excitement and momentum.
- If you are contacting a consultant right before or right after the shovel is in the ground you are, in all likelihood, too late and have a major problem. And while it might be that your development director has left and you need a qualified temporary solution or that you see yourself coming far short of what you need, the earlier you hire us, the more we can help you achieve.
- The final push should be an exciting time when you are working down the last few millions to avoid debt – working with a consultant before you get to this stage can alleviate a lot of the potential stress and pitfalls.
Of course, these are just a few of the myriad reasons to hire Mersky, Jaffe & Associates. Just remember, as the title says, – do it sooner rather than later.